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MSI 970A-G43 review

Michael Passingham
24 Feb 2015
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
MSI 970A-G43 3/4 angle
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
50

The MSI 970A-G43 is a cheap AM3+ motherboard with all the features you could want for a modest build

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Specifications

Processor socket: AM3+, Dimensions: 305x225mm, Chipset: AMD 970 + SB950, Memory slots: 4, PCI-E x16 slots: 2, PCI-E x1 slots: 2, PCI slots: 2, USB ports: 6x USB2, 2x USB3, Video outputs: None

The MSI 970A-G43 is an ATX AM3+ motherboard for AMD FX processors. It uses the AMD 970 and SB950 chipsets designed to make the most of eight-core processors, so we dutifully kitted ours out with an octa-core, 4GHz AMD FX-8350 chip to see what the motherboard was capable of. We first ran our 4K multimedia benchmarking tests with the processor clocked at stock speeds. In this test it managed an overall score of 99.

Navigate to the UEFI BIOS, click the OC Genie II button and the motherboard will automatically alter your processor and RAM clock speeds to what it thinks will be a stable but worthwhile overclock. In our case it clocked our RAM to 1432MHz and bumped the processor's clock speed up to 4.3GHz. The effect of this relatively modest overclock was pretty impressive: benchmarking scores improved by 20% up to an overall score of 121, with the multitasking test in particular getting a huge boost from 93 to 130.

There's one PCI-E x16 slot accompanied by a second running at x4 speeds. Together the two slots are compatible with AMD's CrossFireX platform for dual graphics setups, but if your ambition is to build a gaming monster, you'll probably want to spend more a motherboard with a faster second PCI-E slot capable of x8 or x16 speeds.

MSI 970A-G43 top down

There's a pair of PCI-E x1 slots, although one of these is immediately obstructed when a graphics card is installed in the top PCI-E x16 slot. You will need a graphics card because this motherboard has no built-in video outputs, although you could install it in the bottom PCI-E slot and run it at slower x4 speeds if you don't plan on using it for any performance-dependant tasks. Finally, there are two legacy PCI slots for older expansion hardware.

There are six SATA3 connectors for hard disks, SSDs and optical drives, with two of these sitting facing upwards and the final four facing sideways at the bottom right edge of the board. Depending on how your case handles cable management, these sideways-mounted ports will either be helpful and tidy or awkward and hard to reach.

RAM capacity is up to 32GB, with four DIMM slots to the right of the processor. If you're using two or four sticks of RAM to take advantage of dual-channel performance, you should insert the modules into the first and third or second and fourth slots, which are coloured accordingly.

MSI 970A-G43 ports

There are two USB3 ports at the rear, with a single USB3 header at mid-board for attaching to any USB3 ports your case may have. There are six USB2 ports at the rear and a header for three more at mid-board. Alongside the Gigabit Ethernet port there's also six 3.5mm audio jacks, making this motherboard suitable for surround sound setups including 3.5mm inputs, too.

The MSI 970A-G43 is a good-value motherboard for those looking to build a basic but robust system for work and play. Its built-in, one-click overclocks are a big plus point, although a couple of extra USB3 ports wouldn't have gone amiss.

Hardware
Processor socketAM3+
Form factorATX
Dimensions305x225mm
Processor supportAMD FX, Phenom II, Athlon II, Sempron 100
Processor external bus200MHz
ChipsetAMD 970 + SB950
Supported memory typeDDR3
Maximum memory speed2133MHz
Memory slots4
Maximum memory32GB
Motherboard power connectors1x 24-pin ATX, 1x 8-pin 12V
PCI-E x16 slots2
PCI-E x4 slots0
PCI-E x1 slots2
PCI slots2
Motherboard fan headers3
SATA II ports0
SATA III ports6
RAID support0, 1, 5, 10
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000Mbit/s
Motherboard sound (ports)Realtek HD Audio (6x analogue 3.5mm)
USB ports6x USB2, 2x USB3
USB headers2x USB2, 1x USB3
Video outputsNone
Other ports2x PS/2
Cables included2x SATA
Motherboard clock adjustmentCPU/RAM
Motherboard voltage adjustmentCPU/RAM/Chipset
Buying information
Price including VAT£50
WarrantyOne year RTB
Supplierwww.ebuyer.com
Detailswww.msi.com
Part code911-7693-023

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